The Sonoran Desert—it sounds alluring. And, it is. The Coachella Valley lies in this vast sandy desert, bordered by the San Jacinto, Little San Bernardino, and Santa Rosa Mountains. It’s home to the beloved city of Palm Springs, along with eight other cities in a sort of cascade of cool mid-century design and towering palm trees. Many little oases lie hidden, too, in the form of boutique hotels and resorts with truly awe-inspiring aesthetics.
This, along with the incomparable weather, beautiful landscapes and art, reputation for exceptional dining and drinking, and vibrant, inclusive party scene (not only during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, but year-round) make it pretty epic as wedding locations go. Because of the amazing number of hotel and private properties that hold events, it’s almost guaranteed there’s a vibe that speaks to every couple. And, there’s plenty to do for rehearsal dinners and day-after brunches, too.
Here, a curated selection of the best wedding venues in greater Palm Springs.
For a Classic Palm Springs Wedding: Parker Palm Springs
Pretty much anything is possible at a Parker Palm Springs wedding—and that includes a live elephant (no joke!). The iconic desert destination doesn’t come cheap, however. The atmosphere is fairytale-like, no doubt, with an incredible number of unique setups for photography that will wow friends and family for decades to come, and the gardens and other event spaces will blow them away in real life, too. The hotel’s interiors, by Jonathan Adler, are cheeky and fun, while the maze-like grounds are lush and intimate feeling.
There are two takeover options: buying out all 144 colorful rooms without the restaurants and Palm Springs Yacht Club, or snagging the entire estate, pools, tennis courts, spa, croquet lawn, and all, so no outside guests will step foot on the property. You can go retro, classical, or boho with the vibe. It’s versatile, but magical is pretty much guaranteed. You also can’t miss a snap of newlyweds at the white breeze block entrance.
For Desert-Chic Glamour: Kempa Villa
“Escape the ordinary” is the tagline at this five-acre eden in Palm Desert, and it sums up Kempa Villa’s super special ambience perfectly. From the moment the front gate opens, guests are whisked away to an idyllic tropical oasis that oozes a relaxed luxury—it’s over-the-top beautiful, but there’s nothing stuffy about it. The resort-style estate sleeps up to 18 guests. There’s even a lovely master suite up the spiral staircase (photo moment!) with large balconies for sweeping views of the valley and surrounding mountains, a massive soaking tub, and a double headed shower—perfect for getting ready and then spending your first night as newlyweds.
Kempa Villa operates only with buyouts, so the entire grounds are yours, including the vast Great Lawn where up to 200 can gather for a wedding ceremony. There’s even a helipad for couples who may want a dramatic entrance or exit. Spanish hacienda architecture is a beautiful backdrop, and includes an authentic mission bell that could be rung to celebrate your union.
For more intimate celebrations of love, a ceremony could take place by the long infinity-edge saline pool—a setting that is postcard-perfect. There are fruit orchards, a small sandy beach and Peace Pond with wooden dock, and also an enormous fire pit that can seat up to 25 guests.
Venue pricing is in the $25,000 range, and comes with gracious hosts and housekeeping. You’ll want it for the entire weekend to have plenty of time to hang on custom daybeds by the pool, savor sumptuous multi-course meals by a private chef, practice yoga, have massages, and sip cocktails from the marble-clad bar.
For the Boho Couple: Korakia Pensione
Seductively sexy and lush, with a Moorish keyhole doorway that makes for a grand entrance, this Moroccan-styled petite resort was first built in 1920 by an artist, and remains popular with creative types today. Across one-and-a-half acres and 28 bungalows, guest houses, and villas, you’ll find special little details, singular decor, and courtyards alive with sunshine and fragrant florals at Korakia Pensione. There seem to be a million stars topping every celebration at this one-of-a-kind property, with two swimming pools and plenty of options for customizing your perfect day.
The historic courtyard is a stunning choice for cocktail hour (and includes the vaulted-ceiling library)—this can hold 80 for a reception and 130 guests for a ceremony. The Moroccan Pool Deck can seat 130 for dinner, where the fire pit and outdoor fireplace make for great mingling areas. The Mediterranean event space, at 8,000 square feet, has a capacity of 150 for a reception or 130 for dining, but also includes a pool with several fireplaces and a platform for up to 20 people. Intimate weddings or elopements can be beautifully accommodated in the Orchard House, where 25 friends and family can sit for dinner.
For full-scale weddings, a buyout is required for two to three nights minimum, depending on the season, and events must finish by 10 p.m. (There are great options for after parties nearby.) Event fees for 2022 range from $10,000 to $18,000 with the cost of buyout going from $36,000 to $68,000 in peak season.
For Couples Seeking Foreign Flair: Sands Hotel & Spa
If Morocco sounds like an enchanting wedding destination but it’s a bit too far to entice your guests, the Martyn Lawrence Bullard–designed Sands Hotel will transport them—and you—without a lick of jet lag. The ultra-glam boutique hotel is equal parts old-school Palm Springs, mid-century glamour, and Moroccan and Mediterranean influences.
Picture a ceremony backdropped against the pale pink exterior, with checkered tiles lining the aisle and ancient olive trees framing it all. Dinner can be held at tables dramatically circling the pool, festooned with lights, black and white striped cabanas, and daybeds.
Weekend weddings require a buyout of all 46 guest rooms for a two-night minimum, and up to 180 guests can be seated to dine on Mediterranean dishes and innovative cocktails. Outdoor amplified music can go until 10 p.m., but you and your guests can dance the night away inside the highly Instagrammable Pink Cabana restaurant until 2 a.m. The venue cost is generally around $10,000 plus applicable taxes and fees, with the starting rate per guest about $250.
For a Charming Buyout: Casa Cody
Fun fact: Casa Cody, just off the main drag in downtown Palm Springs, is named for its original owner, Harriet Cody, an early pioneer in the desert town back in the beginning of the 20th century. It’s the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs, and recently completed a significant restoration that included reimagining the 30 charming hacienda adobe structures and rooms in a way that retains their history and antiques. Plus, each one is totally unique.
A romantic burst of fuchsia bougainvillea greet guests entering the hotel, and the San Jacinto Mountains form a backdrop that changes color as the sun sets, creating a mystical sort of atmosphere. The look is rich and textured—just modern enough and verdant, thanks to prolific fruiting trees and native plants.
An ideal wedding at Casa Cody tells a story through shifting venues, since there are unique spaces—think lawns studded with citrus trees, fountains, and butterflies—for each stage of the evening. The historic adobe house is where bridal parties like to get ready these days; Charlie Chaplin and friends used to stay in it and hold impromptu performances once upon a time. The pools are a fun site for a Friday welcome party with a taco cart, too. A buyout is required and, while the hotel’s overnight capacity is 64 guests, receptions can seat up to 200.
For the Design-Savvy Couple: The Lautner Compound
Mid-century design lovers will geek out over holding their big day at the singular Lautner Compound, the ultimate ode to famed architect John Lautner. The Desert Hot Springs compound is made up of three restored Lautner properties, The Lautner, which comprises four vacation rental units dating back to 1947; The Park, a 10,000 square foot al fresco space; and The Ranch House, a circa 1957 bungalow.
All told, the compound can accommodate weddings of literally any size—apparently there’s no maximum guest count. So, if you can dream it, they can host it. (Although, only weddings of more than 100 are given the choice of peak and off-season weekends.) A popular film and photo shoot location, it’s an impeccably designed estate with mid-century furnishings inside and indelible native gardens and San Jacinto Mountain panoramas outside.
The ultimate place to say “I do” is in front of the 20-foot wide curved breeze block wall, as guests watch from upholstered bench seating. Cocktails follow at the Ranch House’s custom black-and-white bar, where lounge areas and fire pits provide seating. (Inside there’s even a makeup and hair studio for the bridal party’s preparatory primping.) Back at the park, a black and white dance floor and long artificial boxwood hedge is where the elegant night unfolds with dinner and dancing as the sun casts its glow on the succulents, cacti, and palms around.
For a Hip Wedding Weekend: Ace Hotel & Swim Club
A mishmash of mid-century and contemporary styles can be found the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, a favorite and sought after resort-style wedding venue with its own vintage photo booth. The attitude is ultra inclusive as well as anything goes, with staff eager to help couples manifest whatever it is makes them happy, with minimal stress along the way. Catering, recommended vendors, and a “friendly rate” are all part of the deal.
The hotel has two distinctly different venues: The Commune (starting from $5,250 for a Saturday date, before taxes) and The Clubhouse ($2,500 for the second floor only on a Saturday, $5,000 for both floors). The super flexible Commune, which has a bright white interior and outdoor poolside space, can be totally transformed for a barefoot boho celebration to a fancy more traditional event. Either way, up to 150 people can be accommodated.
The other option is the double-decker Clubhouse, where two stories get you 4,000-plus square feet to dance, drink, dine, and rejoice. The indoor spaces are highly customizable, and the rooftop can be decked out for a dreamy ceremony, too.
For the Couple Who Loves a View: The Flannery Exchange Rooftop
If it’s all about views for days, book the rooftop at The Flannery Exchange, downtown Palm Springs’ newest venue atop a coolly creative co-working hub, gallery, cafe, and forthcoming restaurant. The massive wooden rooftop deck offers 270-degree vistas of the entire Coachella Valley, so it’s the place to be at sunset.
With space for 220 people outside and another 100 inside (where there’s a display kitchen and plush lounge seating), the rooftop is a blank canvas on which to paint whatever vision you have, high above street level. The vibe inside is mod with vibrant pops of color and mid-century touches, yet the deck is so minimalistic it could adopt any aesthetic.
Couples are free to use the vendors of their choice to create a dreamy evening to remember, which makes it a great choice for those on a stricter budget. There are dates available year-round including weekends and weekdays for a range of $5,000 to $15,000.
For a Royal-Sized Affair: La Quinta Resort & Club
If your guest list is out of control, consider the Fiesta Ballroom at La Quinta Resort, a desert destination that’s been the site of thousands of matrimonies since the 1920s. The expansive ballroom, with its beautifully intricate ceiling and large windows (not to mention photogenic arching carved-wood doors), can hold up to 1,800 guests—it’s 16,940 square feet, after all.
Additionally there’s the 1,200-person Flores Ballroom and 500-attendee Frank Capra Ballroom (particularly notable for its rustic wood beam ceilings and old Hollywood vibe). There are also two outdoor options for under-the-stars ceremonies and receptions: the La Casa Patio (holding 600 revelers) and the more intimate La Casa Courtyard, for 150 guests, which is surrounded by heavenly scented flora. With so many options, as well as so many different room types for guests to enjoy—casitas, suites, and villas, not to mention three championship golf courses and 41 swimming pools in total—it’s a flexible and fantasy-like place for the biggest weekend of your lives.